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STANDARD NINE

    

    STANDARD NINE:

    INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY

 INTRODUCTION

Policies of the Board of Regents (BOR), as well as policies of Montana State University - Bozeman (MSU), govern the professional behavior of all MSU employees.  These policies are formal, well-structured, stable, and are administered by the BOR, the Commissioner of Higher Education (CHE), and MSU's President.

A review of the Table of Contents from the following manuals indicates a commitment to ethical standards and fairness and consistent treatment of students, faculty, and staff:

          Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education Policy and Procedures Manual [Appendix 9-A, BOR Policy and Procedures Manual Table of Contents; Exhibit 6-04, BOR Policy and Procedures Manual]

          Faculty Handbook [Appendix 9-B, Faculty Handbook Table of Contents; and Exhibit 4.01, Faculty Handbook]

        Business Procedures Manual [Appendix 9-C, Business Procedures Manual Table of Contents; and Exhibit 9-01, Business Procedures Manual]

        Personnel Policies Manual [Appendix 9-D, Personnel Policies Manual Table of Contents; and Exhibit 6.24, Personnel Policies Manual]

        Principal Investigator's Manual [Appendix 9-E, Principal Investigator's Manual Table of Contents; and Exhibit 4.44, Principal Investigator's Manual]

These policies direct many aspects of administrative, faculty, staff, and student conduct, and are discussed in more detail in other sections of this Self-Study.

 INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY

BOARD OF REGENTS

The Montana University System (MUS) BOR originally developed a Policy and Procedures Manual in the early 1970's.  The current manual contains system-wide policies on such issue as academic freedom, conflicts of interest, labor negotiations, unauthorized copying/use of computer software, and student participation in mandatory fee decisions.

Specific policies include sections on:

        University employee recruitment, training, development, promotion, tenure, termination, and retirement

        Meeting notice, procedures, and access

        Expenses, reimbursements, audits, asset usage, and other financial considerations

        Relationships with campuses, administrators, faculty, staff, and students

        Academic policies including admissions, probation, suspension, and graduation

        Policies regarding patents, use of state resources, consulting, and other outside activities

        Student loans, scholarships, grants, and other financial aid

        Drug and alcohol testing

        Compensation, insurance, benefits, perquisites, and travel

        Health, safety, and other facilities policies

        Athletic scholarships, grants, and other participation policies

        Discrimination, affirmative action, and diversity policies

Supporting information accompanying various policies includes the effective date, date issued, and a brief history. Taken together these policies define a professional code of ethics and integrity governing all MUS employees.

Academic freedom

BOR Policy 302 governs academic freedom within the state university system [Appendix 9-F, Board of Regents Policy 302, Academic Freedom]. The portion of the l940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) set out below is endorsed by the BOR.  (History: Minutes, State Board of Education, Ex Officio Regents of the University of Montana, Marcy 11, 1963.)  Although the 1940 language of the AAUP is not gender neutral, the academic freedom statements apply to all MSU faculty.

        (a) "The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

        (b) "The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his subject, but he should be careful not to introduce into his teaching controversial matter which has no relation to his subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.

        (c) "The college or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When he speaks or writes as a citizen, he should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a man of learning and an educational officer, he should remember that the public may judge his profession and his institution by his utterances. Hence he should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he is not an institutional spokesman."

The Regents place particular emphasis on paragraphs (b) and (c) of the above statement relating to the responsibilities, as well as the privileges which members of the profession and professional organizations associate with this important concept of American life.

Conflicts of interest

Board of Regents Policy 770 defines, prohibits and requires disclosure of state employee conflicts of interest [Appendix 9-G, Board of Regents Policy 770, Conflict of Interest]. (History: Item 96-011-R0997, Conflicts of Interest; Montana University System (NEW), approved by the Board of Regents on November 20, 1997.)

        Coordination with Other Standards or Policies. This policy is intended to complement the state statute on standard of conduct for public employees (2-2-101ff. MCA) and is not intended to supersede or contradict those standards, although it is possible that an activity allowable under the state statute might be found to violate the more general principle enunciated by this policy. Also, this policy is not intended to supersede Regents. Policy 760 (Service on Outside Governing Boards), and persons covered by that policy must act in compliance with the general terms of both.

        General Policy. Employees of MUS must endeavor to avoid conflicts of interest between their university system duties and obligations and their personal activities, and between their university system duties and obligations and their professional activities outside the university system. A conflict of interest exists:

        When an employee has a personal interest in a matter that may be inconsistent or incompatible with the employee's obligation to exercise his or her best judgment in pursuit of the interests of the university system; or

        When a non-university system activity encroaches on the time an employee should devote to the affairs of the university system; or

        When an employee's non-university system activities impinge on or compromise the loyalty, commitment, or performance the university has a right to expect from the employee.

        Disclosure of Potential Conflict.

        When presented with a situation involving a potential conflict of interest, an employee should ask: Would public disclosure of the matter lead an outside observer to believe a conflict exists?

        When a potential conflict of interest arises, the involved employee has an obligation to bring the matter to the attention of her or his supervisor and ultimately to the campus chief executive; or in the case of the presidents, to CHE; and in the case of the CHE, to the BOR.  Also, a supervisor who has reason to believe an employee may have a conflict of interest is obligated to bring that matter to the attention of the employee and ultimately to the campus chief executive. Upon receiving a report that a conflict of interest may exist, the responsible administrative officer will undertake a careful, timely examination of the facts of the case to determine whether such conflict does exist or is likely to arise out of the activity at issue. The administrator will inform the affected employee of the judgment reached in the matter, subject to appropriate appeal.

        Availability of Grievance Procedure.

        An employee who objects to a refusal to allow her or him to undertake a specific activity may appeal such a decision through the appeals procedure established by BOR Policy 203.5.2.

        A person alleging a university system employee has acted or is about to act in a fashion incompatible with this policy may bring that matter to the attention of the chief executive officer on the involved campus. A campus decision on such a complaint is appealable under BOR Policy 203.5.2 once a final decision has been rendered by the appropriate university president.


Policy review and revision

The BOR Policy and Procedures Manual is a continually changing document.  Almost every BOR meeting agenda includes consideration of new policies or revision of current policies.  Changes in BOR policies are made according to published procedures [Appendix 9-H, Board of Regents Policy 203.3.3, Policy and Procedures], and a history of all policy changes and distribution dates are made available to the public [Exhibit 9.02, Board of Regents Policy 105, Distribution of Materials].  The BOR policies are updated or added in response to internal and external motivations.  These might include changing state or federal laws/regulations, new and changing technologies, or issues brought forth by faculty, staff, students, or the public.  For example, in November 1997, a committee was appointed by the MSU President to review the BOR policies, and provide the CHE with a list of policies that should be reviewed for updating or rescission [Exhibit 9.03, Identified Policies].  The policies identified were either outdated, invalid due to the restructuring of the MUS, or inconsistent with other policies.

MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY - BOZEMAN

The institution maintains a number of manuals to cover policies and procedures related to administrative affairs of the campus, such as the Faculty Handbook, Business Procedures Manual, Personnel Policies, and Principal Investigators Manual.  Campus policies may be identical to the BOR policy or may be more detailed.  Some campus manuals contain a history on the policy-mainly the effective date or a revision date.  References are given to the BOR policy, state law, or regulation where applicable.

Faculty

Policies governing the professional integrity of the faculty are provided in the Faculty Handbook [Appendix 9-I, Faculty Handbook 420, Ethical and Professional Standards].  The faculty and administration of MSU are responsible for assuring the highest ethical and professional standards and behavior in:

        Working with undergraduate and graduate students, including the elimination of racial, ethnic, and sexual prejudice and harassment from the classroom and entire University community

        Working with faculty and staff

        Performing contracted responsibilities, including the employment and use of graduate assistants or adjunct faculty and staff

        Working with public and private agencies, organizations, and businesses

        Preventing conflicts of interest (see 440.00) and reporting work done outside the University (see 1130.00)

        Conducting peer review for all faculty members

        Conducting research and creative activity (see 430.00)

        Adhering to standards for biosafety, research utilizing human and animal subjects, and the use of radioactive materials (see Research Policies)

        Respecting confidentiality and privacy in the use of information systems (see Computing Policies, 510.00 and 520.00)

        Respecting copyright and patent requirements (see 910.00 and 920.00)

        Participating in university planning and governance (see Appendix 1-D, Long Range Plan, Revised 1998)

        Reporting alleged breaches of ethical standards to appropriate bodies (see 434.01)

Classified and professional employees

The professional and ethical behavior of classified and professional staff, as well as the faculty at MSU, is addressed in nearly every section of the MSU Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.  Specific guidelines are given regarding sexual harassment, equal opportunity/affirmative action, and drug and alcohol abuse.  Standardized employment procedures are provided for recruitment, hiring, training, probation, evaluation, retirement, and termination of employees.

Students

Student ethics and integrity are described in the Student Academic Conduct and Grievance Guidelines [Appendix

9-J, 1998-99 Student Academic and Grievance Procedures and Conduct Guidelines]. This policy requires students to demonstrate professional behavior in their conduct at MSU.  Specifically the policy states:

        The integrity of the academic process requires that credit be given where credit is due. Accordingly, it is academic misconduct to present the ideas or works of another as one's own work, or to permit another to present one's work without customary and proper acknowledgment of authorship. Students may collaborate with other students only as expressly permitted by the instructor. Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, the appropriate citation of sources, and the respect and recognition of others' academic endeavors.

        The administration, faculty, and students of MSU believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education. The University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to assure the highest ethical and professional standards and behavior in the classroom.


Accordingly, the University has developed procedures that address instances of academic dishonesty. Students who violate these standards commit academic misconduct and will be subject to academic and/or disciplinary sanctions.

Public communication

The Office of University Relations and The Office of Communication Services are responsible for all external communication both through the broadcast media, and through various printed documents.  Communication services manages the professional publication of the combined Graduate/Undergraduate Bulletin, as well as other office admission materials, departmental brochures, and materials dealing with events, outreach, research, development, athletics, and alumni.  University relations provides oversight of general campus marketing efforts, and interaction with the public press supervising media relations, media inquiries, and campus emergency information services.  The director of University Relations serves as the liaison to the state legislature and legislative tracking for MSU.

MSU abides by a number of policies regarding interaction with the public and the press.  Campus-wide announcements representing the views of the institution as a whole must be authorized by the Office of University Relations within the Presidents Office [Appendix 9-K, News Releases and Statements].

        Any staff member expressing personal opinions to the media shall make it clear that such are personal views and not necessarily those of MSU. Any statements representing the official position of the University must come from the President's office or be authorized in writing by that office.

Institutional policies also govern the content and presentation of information on the Internet.  This Web policy requires appropriateness, currency, and accuracy [Appendix, 9-L, Web Policy].

        All official, institutional, local, and personal Web pages represent MSU; therefore, all information presented must comply with existing law and university policy, including:

        Acceptable Use Policies for MSUnet, Summitnet, and NorthWestNet

        Student Academic and Conduct Guidelines, Grievance Procedures, and Faculty Handbook

        Non-Discrimination Policies and Procedures

        Family Education and Privacy Act of 1974

        Individuals may develop local pages for nonprofit organizations related to their work for the University, with the understanding that MSU will not provide assistance for development or maintenance and will not guarantee the accessibility of those pages.

        Each Web page should conform to the Web Content and Format Guidelines approved by the Executive Director of Information Services.

The object of the Web Content and Format Guidelines [Exhibit 9.04, Web Content and Format Guidelines] is to ensure that the content of Web pages accurately represents MSU in the following ways:

        Content must be consistent with the purpose of MSU's Web site

        Content must conform to Acceptable Use Policies and MSU's Web Policy so that it is non-discriminatory, non- commercial, and protective of individual privacy

        Language must be suitable to a public forum

        Content must be appropriate, current, and accurate

        Links are to be monitored, with non-functioning links removed or repaired regularly

Policy review and revision

Institutional policies are developed or revised as needed based on changes in state or federal laws/regulations, changes in BOR policies, changes to other regulatory standards (i.e., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), or the environmental changes.  Recommendations for policies additions and/or changes come from several sources including faculty or staff governance groups, other governance groups such as Deans' Council, the President's Executive Council (PEC), or from offices primarily responsible for enforcement of the policy.  A number of policies and procedures are currently under review as a result of the Banner Administrative Software implementation-mainly in the student, human resources, and finance areas.  Policy reviews are held at the appropriate level as needed including MSU's four (4) campuses, and the MUS.

Audits and reports can also trigger review of policies.  Accreditation reports at the program and college levels, audit reports (internal and external), performance or compliance reviews, as well as grievances or complaints may require a review of current policies.

Internal concerns and issues have also motivated policy reviews.  In recent years, MSU has experienced several instances of employee ethics violations.  These recent events raised the awareness of other organizations within the University and prompted reevaluation of policies and practices.  For example, the 1999 Montana Legislature considered a bill (House Bill 590) requiring a background check for first-time applicants for Montana teaching certificates.

 INSTITUTIONAL SURVEY

The recent Faculty Survey [Appendix 1-K], Classified Staff Survey [Appendix 1-L], and Professional Staff Survey [Appendix 1-M] asked respondents how they would rate the institution's integrity. Table 9-01 illustrates the opinions of these groups.

Table 9-01

CAMPUS SURVEY SUMMARY RESPONSES - INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY

Question

Group

Percent of those responding

Strongly Agree/

Agree

Disagree/

Strongly Disagree

Don't Know, N/A, or Missing

The administration appropriately supports ethnic and gender diversity on this campus

Faculty

58.52

22.14

19.34

Classified Staff

63.80

12.60

23.60

Professional Staff

58.40

21.00

20.60

The University has adequate procedures for dealing with discrimination

Faculty

45.80

10.68

43.52

Classified Staff

45.80

9.00

54.80

Professional Staff

50.80

8.70

40.50

The University has adequate procedures for dealing with sexual harassment

Faculty

51.65

11.0

37.29

Classified Staff

48.10

6.90

55.00

Professional Staff

54.60

6.00

39.40

The University communicates relevant information to all its constituents

Faculty

27.99

51.65

48.35

Classified Staff

35.01

44.90

20.09

Professional Staff

49.20

30.80

20.00

For all four (4) questions there were significant numbers of respondents who did not know the answer to the question, felt the question was not applicable, or did not answer these question (ranging from 19.4% to 55%.  For the first three (3) questions, for those who did feel comfortable answering these questions, it was generally felt that the University/Administration does support gender and ethnic diversity, and has adequate procedures for dealing with both discrimination and sexual harassment  The varied responses to the last question may be indicative of a need for better communication between administration and these three (3) groups.

Only the professional staff were asked about access to institutional policies. The question asked was, "I have adequate access to the policies I need to do my work (i.e. administrative policies, student policies, etc.)..  A high majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed-75.6%-with the statement.  One (1) factor that may explain the positive response is that a large number of individuals in this group are in positions that require them to interact with faculty, students, and classified staff regarding policies and procedures.  Additionally, 65% of the respondents are employed in Student Services; Academic Affairs; Administration; and Research, Creativity, and Technology Transfer.

 CONCLUSIONS

        Montana State University - Bozeman has instituted policies and procedures for fair and equitable treatment of students and employees.  The communication of these policies and other relevant information may not be completely reaching the staff.  Electronic distribution of information is increasing, and the University needs to be sure that the information is accessible to all individuals needing it.  Individuals are not always aware a change has been made without notification.

        Prior to Fiscal Year 98-99, the Staff Bulletin was published bi-weekly during the academic year and mailed to all employees.  Currently, the Staff Bulletin is available electronically, with a new issue bi-weekly.  Individuals interested in reading the Staff Bulletin must know when a new issue is available and go to the Web site to view.  The electronic distribution and availability of policies and procedures will continue to be an improvement over limited access to manuals kept in central offices; the University needs to continue to improve methods to communicate changes in policies.

STANDARD NINE - LIST OF TABLES

Table 9-01

Campus Survey Summary Responses - Institutional Integrity

STANDARD NINE - LIST OF APPENDICES

Appendix 9-A

BOR Policy and Procedures Manual Table of Contents

http://www.montana.edu/wochelp/borp ol/

Appendix 9-B

Faculty Handbook Table of Contents

http://www.montana.edu/wwwfachb/fc/

Appendix 9-C

Business Procedures Manual Table of Contents

http://www.montana.edu/aircj/manual/bus/

Appendix 9-D

Personnel Policies Manual Table of Contents

http://www.montana.edu/aircj/manual/pers/

Appendix 9-E

Principal Investigator's Manual Table of Contents

 

Appendix 9-F

Board of Regents Policy 302, Academic Freedom

http://www.montana.edu/wochelp/borpol/bor300/302.html

Appendix 9-G

Board of Regents Policy 770, Conflict of Interest

http://www.montana.edu/wochelp/borpol/bor700/770.html

Appendix 9-H

Board of Regents Policy 203.3.3, Policy and Procedures

http://www.montana.edu/wochelp/borpol/bor200/20333.html

Appendix 9-I

Faculty Handbook 420, Ethical and Professional Standards

http://www.montana.edu/wwwfachb/fc/fh400.html#420.00

Appendix 9-J

1998-99 Student Academic and Grievance Procedures and Conduct Guidelines

http://www.montana.edu/wwwfachb/policy/acguide.html

Appendix 9-K

News Releases and Statements

http://www.montana.edu/wwwfachb/fc/fh400.html#410.00  http://www.montana.edu/wwwfachb/fc/fh400.html#412.00

Appendix 9-L

Web Policy

http://www.montana.edu/aircj/WebPolicy.html

STANDARD NINE - LIST OF EXHIBITS

Exhibit 9.01

Business Procedures Manual

http://www.montana.edu/aircj/manual/bus/

Exhibit 9.02

Board of Regents Policy 105, Distribution of Materials

http://www.montana.edu/wochelp/borpol/bor100/105.html

Exhibit 9.03

Identified Policies

 

Exhibit 9.04

Web Content and Format Guidelines

http://www.montana.edu/misc/guidelines.html  

Return to Self Study Table of Contents.

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 09/29/1999
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